Today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament awarded the 2011 Sakharov prize for freedom of thought to the "Arab Spring" represented by the deceased Mohamed Bouazizi, from Tunisia, Asmaa Mahfouz from Egypt, Ahmed al- Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi from Lybia and Razan Zaitouneh and Ali Farzat from Syria. Given the historic nature of the events in the Arab world this year's recipients are five individuals who have contributed to historic change in their countries. ALDE was the driving force behind these nominations.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader said "2011 will go down in history as the year in which people in the Arab world have chosen a new path - the path to democracy. The European Parliament's consensual decision to award the Sakharov prize 2011 to the Arab Spring is recognition of the courage of the people who led the movement for change. This recognition is also a pledge fromEuropeto be there to build upon the achievements of the people to bring about democratic change".
Marietje Schaake (D66,Netherlands) "Today the European Parliament recognizes and celebrates the courage of five individuals from countries that saw revolutionary change in the Arab Spring. Together they symbolize the promise of freedom in the Arab World for which hundreds of thousands continue to fight. The Sakharov Prize winners should serve as a reminder of Europe´s support for those who continue the hard struggle for freedom, justice and opportunities. "